03/07/2009 73 °F
Even though Ash Wednesday was two weeks ago, Australia is having their annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. It was also Jason's last night in Australia, and we couldn't think of any better way to send him on his way.
The parade wound through downtown before eventually making its way to Kings Cross (the red light district in Sydney). The streets were absolutely swamped with people, most dressed in scandalous costumes. Everyone seemed headed in one direction, straight for the parade. Following the crowd, we eventually found the parade path. Since people were lined 10 deep to watch the parade, most had brought milk crates or stools to stand on for better views. Dawn found an abandoned stool while Jason, Will, and I squeezed in to take a peek.
Music blared from floats as people danced through the streets. Heaps of people, both in the parade and the spectators, were dressed in drag. Rainbow flags were everywhere. It seemed that each float tried to be even more flamboyant that its predecessor. A lady next to me seemed to know someone from each float and received several hugs and kisses. Here are some shots (notice the guy walking in only a G-String, the gay marriage promotion by the Gay Catholics, and the Mature Age Gay bus).
Pictures don't really do the parade justice. Thankfully Dawn also got some video footage. The first video is a group of dancers, but make sure to look for the two girls dressed as halves of the Earth that come together to make a whole planet at the end.
The next video is one of the percussion groups that came by.
The last video I'm posting shows a group of hula hoopers. Enjoy.
Shortly before midnight the end of the parade passed us by. Having seen enough, we left downtown and started bar hopping back to Glebe. We ended up stopping at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel for the majority of our drinks (on the other side of Darling Harbor from the parade). However, as the night passed, the crowd started getting much more colorful. After figuring out that a guy had been standing at the middle urinal for over an hour (I guess doing a little sight seeing), we decided it was time to move on again. The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was definitely an unique experience, but not exactly something I'd look to do again.